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Well, had my second Zoladex shot in November lat year, which stung a bit more than the first – maybe because I’ve gone on a full scale weight loss program and am now down 20 kg (say 44 lbs or a bit over 3 stone depending on your place of residence) so there isn’t much fat to plant the depot.
My PSA in November was 1.20 ng/ml, which was pretty good going, but the December one got me into a bit of a state because it was 1.50 ng/ml. It was ridiculous of me to be concerned, because I know that that kind of variance is within the normal range of PSA tests, but I have periods of sadness – not quite depression – which I think are associated with the hormone therapy and was in the midst of one of these periods when I got the news. Added to that I had just read the abstract of a new study by Strum (but hadn’t got a hold of the full report) that seemed to indicate that there was a substantial survival advantage for men who went below 0.05 ng/ml on ADT and I was a long way off that!
Of course once I got out of the ‘black dog’ mood and once I read the full abstract, I realised that nothing had really changed and so waited patiently for my next PSA test, the results of which I got today – 0.60 ng/ml. That’s more like it. Maybe I’ll make it to twenty years after all – if the heart failure doesn’t ‘cure’ me. It has been awfully hot here this summer – temperatures of up to 42C (that’s about 108F for you non-metricated folk) and that really knocks me around – thank goodness for air-conditioning.
I’m having one more Zoladex shot next month and then, if there is another downward blip, I intend giving it a rest (with the blessing of my oncologist) to see what happens. Will let you know in due course.
Amazing how the PSA anxiety can still rear it's ugly head after all these years.
It's been great reading that latest PSA result. Yessss! You'll make the 20yr milestone no problemo!
What struck me was the fact you mentioned your periods of "sadness, not quite depression".
I have hesitated for a few months to mention that this same "downer" mood hit me in early December.
Quite frankly, I am ashamed and embarrassed to confess it.
I had a repeat appointment with an endocrinologist soon after I felt down before Christmas, and one of his very first questions was "Do you feel depressed?". I guess he immediately recognised I wasn't my normal cheerful self.
Soon after thatI had my oncology review, and, of course the onco is delighted at my results since stopping all meds back in September. So, I told him how bleak my mood was and asked "Why NOW?" I just can't understand how I fought like crazy these last 3 years, and now I see good results my mood sinks! It doesn't make sense to me at all.
He responded that it was similar to a kind of battle fatigue. Well, I'm not sure. I have tried and tried to get my zest for life sparking again but have now decided to ask for medical help from my local doc.
He did give me some anti-depressants (SSRIs) 3 weeks ago, but the dose was so low as to make absolutely no difference to me. I see him again tomorrow and will ask for a higher doseage.
About 8 yrs ago I went through a very dark period, and SSRIs got me through it well. I only needed a few months on them, so I'm hoping the same will happen this time.
Does anyone else think that all this hormone manipulation we've gone through plays havoc with our emotions?
Your saying “ Quite frankly, I am ashamed and embarrassed to confess it [your downers].” demonstrates just what the main issue is with us men. We won’t admit to these feelings because we feel it shows a weakness and men can never, ever do that. Cowboys don’t cry, we recall from our childhood onward. And since most of the doctors we see are men, we can’t admit these feelings to another man, who wouldn’t understand anyway – and if we see one of the relatively few women urologists or oncologists, well…. We couldn’t show a woman our feminine side. Dr Charles “ Snuffy” Myers, well known to many men with prostate cancer says depression is the most under-diagnosed side effect of cancer treatments, and especially of ADT (Androgen Deprivation Therapy).
From what I’ve read of the few men who do discuss this forbidden topic from time to time, the biggest single problem (apart from the emotional roller coaster we go on) is a lack of testosterone. This sees some men taking testosterone supplements and reporting amazing increases in energy level and ‘feeling good.’ Needless to say, of course there are enormous differences of opinion as to the wisdom of this step, but……..it certainly works for some men and there is no sign, from what they say of the supplements fuelling any progression.
I am fortunate in some ways in that I have a slight tendency to bi-polar behaviour, which has seen me suicidally depressed on two occasions in the past. I say I am fortunate because those incidents made me very aware of the precursor to changes in mood and I can thus avoid heading down the awful spiral into the pit of despair that is true depression. The key, for me, is to force myself to do things, to have exercise, to get the endorphins flooding my system, not to allow myself to sink into lethargy, hard though that is initially. The point that Phred makes about his glass being half full rather than half empty is another key – difficult to do when on the slippery slope, but essential.
Hope you get out of your hole, George and recover your amazingly positive outlook on life. I am sure that many people have been given a boost in their energy levels and will have been inspired by your tale and the never say die attitude you exhibit.